What Is B Corp Certification? (& Why Does It Matter?)

By Charlotte Rickards

2 months ago

Your unofficial B Corp explainer

From dinner parties to corporate conferences, everyone’s talking about B Corp – but what does it actually mean? As part of the B Corp community, C&TH is a hub for all things B Corp. But first up: here’s an explainer.

What Is B Corp Certification? (& Why Does It Matter?)

What Is B Corp?

The B Corp Certification is a legal designation for businesses that show a high level of social and environmental performance. In other words: it’s today’s seal of approval for the brands that are excelling in making a sustainable and ethical impact. From Chloé to Patagonia, Aesop to Sipsmith and, as of July 2023, Country & Town House more and more aspirational brands are going B Corp. But it’s not as easy as it looks.

C&TH is a B Corp

As of July 2023, C&TH is a B Corp.

What Does B Corp Stand For?

B Corp is short for ‘B Corporation’, with the ‘B’ standing for ‘Benefit for all’. This means that Certified B Corporations benefit all stakeholders, according to B Lab. Stakeholders include anyone who has an interest in the company’s performance and outcomes, with three categories all placed on equal footing with profit. These are:

  • People (workers, customers, suppliers, investors, regulators)
  • The wider community
  • The environment.

How To Become A B Corp?

To be B-Corp certified, companies must meet social sustainability and environmental performance standards, while being accountable and transparent across the entire company, its product lines and its issue areas. To apply for B-Corp certification, a business must answer 300 questions that span labour, environmental impact, ethics and governance, their social initiatives and what their goalposts are for the next few years.

Then, once a brand’s completed the questions (plus backed it up with supporting evidence), B Lab (that’s B Corp’s non-profit offshoot) will scrutinise, assess and give the brand a score out of 200. If a brand reaches 80 or above then they’re B Corp Certified – but any lower and they miss the mark.

Aesop Northcote Road Store

Aesop is a B Corp Certified beauty brand. Image courtesy of Aesop.

How Many Companies Are B Corp Certified?

There are currently over 8,000 Certified B Corporations in more than 90 countries and over 160 industries. Sounds like a lot, but it’s a drop in the ocean compared to the over 100,000 applications, which gives you some estimate of how challenging the assessment is. But it doesn’t stop there. Even if you’ve passed the 80 points mark, your work isn’t over. Your business will be required to report annually using an external third party to show consistent progress towards your social and environmental goals.

How Many B Corps Are There In The UK?

There are now more than 2,000 B Corp certified companies in the UK, meaning over 81,000 members of the UK workforce are employed by a B Corp, and British B Corps make up around a quarter of all B Corps.

If you want to learn more about what it takes to reach B Corp status, find out about the C&TH journey to becoming one here.

Main image: Unsplash